Dawnland – Native American Heritage Month

First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative

On Nov 5th, WHYY PBS / Independent Lens aired DAWNLAND, directed by Adam Mazo – a documentary of the “untold story of Indigenous child removal in the US through the nation’s first-ever government-endorsed truth and reconciliation commission,” the investigation of the devastating impact of Maine’s child welfare practices on the Wabanaki people. The presumption being that “assimilating into white society would improve [Wabanaki children’s] quality of life and give [the Wabanaki children] a better future.” This is the first time a film focused on WABANAKI people has been nationally televised. In recognition of National Native American Heritage month, DAWNLAND is now available to stream in the United States on PBS.org and via the PBS app through the end of November!

Denise Altvater (Passamaquoddy,) coordinator of AFSC’s Wabanaki Youth Program, courageously tells her story and is featured in DAWNLAND. A friend of Arla Patch (Doylestown MM) and other members of PhYM First Contact Reconciliation Collaborative (FCRC,) Denise joined Young Friends during a recent retreat, hosted by West Chester Friends Meeting.

We invite you into the relationship building, essential for beloved community. After viewing DAWNLAND, consider the suggested questions: How much did you know about this story going in? What aspects of it are relevant today? Does your family’s own cultural identity remain intact?